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Please Help me build my first PC

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June 3, 2003 8:01:35 PM

I am a refugee from the Dell world. Looking to build my first PC. I will use it for web surfing, telecommuting, video editing of home movies, a little bit of games, etc. Nothing too fancy. Don't need to overclock. I do want a PC that is as quiet as possible. I am tired of the Dell which has made me feel like I am sitting next to an aircraft engine for the past 4 years. I also want one that is not going to be obselete in 6 months and will give me the opportunity to upgrade down the road. My budget is about $2000 or less.

Don't know what case to buy. Looks are not critical but not unimportant. More imporatant than looks is noise. I will spend as much as needed to get a quiet case. Any suggestions there?

Here is the setup I came up with.

P4 2.4 GHz 800 FSB
Asus P4P800 Deluxe Motherboard
2 x 512MB PC3200 C2 Corsair XMS
Western Digital 36GB SATA WD360GD 10,000 RPM 8MB Hard Drive
ATI Radeon 9800 pro
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum
Lite-on 52x CD-RW
19" LCD
XP Professional

I went with 2.4 GHz because I don't need the fastest CPU. I hope the memory is the correct one for the system. Is the Raptor HD easy to install or does it need special configuration? ATI 9800 Pro is probably an overkilll for my use. I don't know which DVD drive I should buy. Any one drive that covers all the different formats? Saw Samsung 191T. Looks OK to me. Anything better on the market?

Also, what is the difference between OEM and Retail? I see these while searching newegg. Please correct this confuguration if I have something in there that is incompatible. Thanks.

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June 3, 2003 8:42:48 PM

Quote:
I am a refugee from the Dell world. Looking to build my first PC.

Welcome to the <i>real</i> world. :) 

Quote:
Don't know what case to buy. Looks are not critical but not unimportant. More imporatant than looks is noise. I will spend as much as needed to get a quiet case. Any suggestions there?

My personal favorite of a case is the Antec Sonata. It's the case I'm going to use for my next system. It helps keep things quiet, as do the rubber grommets that come with it to reduce vibrations from the hard drives. However just as important as the case itself are the fans on everything. The power supply and case fans with the Sonata are nice and quiet too. If you go with another case, keep in mind that getting quiet fans here can make a huge difference.

And then there's still the heat sink fan and the video card fan. The retail heat sink that comes with a retail P4C 2.4GHz should be quiet enough I'd imagine, especially since it should be a relatively cool running CPU.

The Radeon 9800 Pro might be a little louder though. Then again it might not. I'm really not too sure. If you get a case with a good airflow though then you can look for a Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9700 Pro Ultimate. It comes with a big fanless heat sink on it and thus makes no noise.

Of course you could instead buy something like a Zalman ZM80A-HP heat sink for your video card and mount it yourself. Doing that though voids your warantee. :(  Which is why I usually suggest the Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9700 Pro Ultimate because it comes from the factory with that heat sink so you still have your warantee. :)  But if voiding the warantee is not a concern, you can save money and get better performance (with a Radeon 9800 Pro) by changing the heat sink yourself.

And the difference between OEM and retail is that OEM is packaged for sale to manufacturers like Dell. It comes with little to no paperwork and little to no software. (Somtimes it won't even come with drivers and then you have to download them yourself from the internet.) The packaging is plain and usually just an ugly white box. Additional hardware like cables and such generally don't come with OEM parts either. And OEM parts also generally don't come with any real warantee. (Okay, so sometimes they come with a 30 day warantee or so, but definately not <i>years</i>.)

Retail packaging is what's meant for customers to see sitting on the shelves at a PC store. The packaging is usually bright. Retail comes with manuals, drivers, additional software, extra hardware (such as a heat sink in the case of CPUs or a phone cord in the case of a modem), etc. Retail parts also generally come with a 1 to 3 year warantee.

Also theoretically retail parts are tested more thoroughly before they're packaged and are of marginally better quality. (After all, they have to survive their warantee or else the manufacturer loses money.) In reality however this is generally debatable. It hasn't really been definitively proven one way or the other if retail really has better quality than OEM.

"<i>Yeah, if you treat them like equals, it'll only encourage them to think they <b>ARE</b> your equals.</i>" - Thief from <A HREF="http://www.nuklearpower.com/daily.php?date=030603" target="_new">8-Bit Theater</A>
June 3, 2003 10:51:09 PM

Hi there,
If you have the money, why not go with a faster CPU? After all, you're already getting a monster of a videocard - thus going with a faster CPU does make sense (you will see a difference).
If you don't have the extra $$$, then it's ok, 2.4GHz is quite fast already.
Good luck, and have great fun!!!
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June 3, 2003 11:13:11 PM

Read reviews of Antec Sonata. Seems good. But what is with the chrome on the front?! I suppose I should not worry about that considering the three reviews I read all say it is a quiet case and I need a quiet one. I didn't realize that video cards have fans too.

Any suggestions for a DVD writer?
June 3, 2003 11:17:08 PM

<<If you have the money, why not go with a faster CPU? After all, you're already getting a monster of a videocard -thus going with a faster CPU does make sense (you will see a difference). If you don't have the extra $$$, then it's ok, 2.4GHz is quite fast already. Good luck, and have great fun!!!>>

I can get a faster CPU. I wonder how much faster what I need to do is going to be. I see that the 3GHz is $400+, while the 2.4 GHz is $184. Considering the P3 500MHz CPU I currently have, the 2.4 GHz must be supersonic.

Keeping in mind the configurartion I have, am I in good position to upgrade, if need be, when Prescott comes around?
June 3, 2003 11:22:48 PM

About the DVD writer one suggestion: WAIT!
Or if you have the cash buy one that can both write the DVD+R and the DVD-R standards. I think that the jury is still out on which standard that will prevail: Also check the price on DVD+R and DVD-R discs since there are a price difference. Remeber that you cannot use a DVD+R disc in a DVD-R unit and vice versa.

GL

Turk
June 4, 2003 1:00:02 AM

everything looks pretty good, thatll be a nice system, and dont listen to these wanks pushing you to buy a 2.4ghz cpu, save your money, and if you feel the need to upgrade, you can buy a much better prescot cpu when they arrive

as for the videocard, do you really need a 9800pro? its a really nice card no questions about that, but it seems a bit overkill for someone who browses the net and occasionally plays games

i also wonder if you might find the larger 80 - 100 gig drives from wester digital a better choice than the raptor, theyre a lot cheaper, and significantly bigger

if you can afford it though 2 -3 raptors stripped would be amazing, and give you lots of space

"Going to war without France is like going hunting without an accordion."
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June 4, 2003 1:14:25 AM

First of all, you want a nice case. I'm going to assume you want a top quality power supply as well! Look at <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/Showimage.asp?image=11-108-27..." target="_new">This Inwin case from Newegg</A>. Have no fear, the 300W FPS power supply is actually rated at 70% load, it compared to a 430W power supply from other manufacturers! The case itself is VERY sturdy, made of heavy steel which helps insulate noise, etc.

As for the hard drive, I'd go with a WD 1200JB myself, as the Raptor is only a little faster while being a LOT smaller.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
June 4, 2003 2:43:40 AM

Nice looking Computer you have there. I would change the Ram from 3200 to Corsair Pc 3500 That should last you for two years or so. Depending on how often you want to up grade.
June 4, 2003 2:53:19 AM

DVD writer?? the best dvd writer that support both DVD+ and - R disks are the sony DVD writers (those things are amazing) and 9800pro is definity too much for you i'd recommand a 5600Ultra or 9600pro adn if you have the money get another 120GB drive from WD and use the raptor for windows only.......

PS- YOU escaped from dell?? wow!! escaping from dell is like being free from the Matrix lol

Proud Owner the Block Heater
120% Nvidia Fanboy
Athlon 64......nForce 3, it sure sucks when you can't afford things. One day Operton Servers will cost less than $4000 so everyone can get one
June 4, 2003 6:00:34 PM

Why DDR433? Which of the following from Corsair is the one to buy for my configuration?

Corsair CMX512-3500C2PT 512MB DDR433 PC3500 Memory w/Silver Heat Spreader
Corsair CMX512-3500C2 512MB DDR433 PC3500 Memory w/Heat Spreader
Corsair CMX256A-3500C2PT 256MB DDR433 PC3500 Memory w/Silver Heat Spreader
Corsair CMX256A-3500C2 256MB DDR433 PC3500 Memory w/Heat Spreader

Thanks.
June 4, 2003 6:04:54 PM

Never mind the 4 memory models I mentioned. Saw that the bottom two are 256MB. Of the two below, which is better and what is the difference?

Corsair CMX512-3500C2PT 512MB DDR433 PC3500 Memory w/Silver Heat Spreader
Corsair CMX512-3500C2 512MB DDR433 PC3500 Memory w/Heat Spreader
June 4, 2003 6:26:18 PM

Both the same. The two differ only by color.

<b><font color=blue>I agree with that solution ... because it is a logical one.</font color=blue></b>
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